Removing the dust that settled a month ago

Hello everybody! It has been almost what, a month since I’ve updated this blog. This month definitely felt a lot longer, and I’m sure the dust that accumulates in this blog is almost a year’s worth. Regardless, this one month has been a hell of a ride for me in my journey as a student and an applicant for my Medicine studies!

Previously, I was shortlisted for Southampton’s Medicine and Birmingham’s Medicine and I was jumping around in joy! Finally, 2 opportunities for me to showcase my passions and qualities that I have to become a doctor!

However, those firmed dates that fell on my Anatomy and Physiology II Common Assessment worth 40% of my grades (Birmingham’s interview) and one week worth of school (Southampton’s interview) meant that I would need to make decisions. To make the right choice and find a balance between skipping school (without affecting my grades) and grabbing onto those opportunities.

With my end goal of Medicine in mind, I applied for leave from the school and seek approval. Approval was tough to get because I had to go through a few rounds of consultation with my module coordinators as well as the school’s curriculum professor for discussion. Thankfully, the leave was approved. But, the 40% worth of grades for my Anatomy’s exam would be awarded a nice fat zero.

Nonetheless, I went for Birmingham’s interview.

Prior that, I had bought air tickets over to the UK (for Southampton) and paid for my accommodation as well. It wasn’t until a few days later that Queen Belfast sent me a shortlisting email. Since the interview for Queen’s is located in Singapore, and that I will not be missing important lessons (which are tied to several consequences), I decided to cancel my flight to the UK. I know, silly me, maybe that was not a good decision, or maybe it was. Whoever that took over my slot for Southampton, I sincerely hope you would get it! 

Belfast’s interview came first and it was an MMI format. First station definitely gave me the confident boost I needed. However, when I was at the 2nd station, I felt completely trashed. By the time I was at my third (and last station), I felt terrible. As I was looking at the theme of station’s 3 question, I was elated! I knew I could slay the last station and make up for the loss I faced in station 2. Guess what?

Station 3 completely slew me. I ended up stumbling my words and thought process, which cost me my “average” grading to a “below average” for one of the marking component. Sigh. This interview definitely made me reconsider a lot of factors and boy was I glad that I went through Belfast interview. Without this, I would not have developed the resolution to further train and prepare myself for Birmingham’s interview.

2 weeks later, on my time slot for my Birmingham’s interview, I was hoping that standardized questions such as “Why do you want to study medicine” and all did not become the main heading for the interview. When I was escorted into the preparation room, two sheets of case study greeted me.

I WAS SO DAMN THANKFUL THAT THEY WERE CASE STUDIES, AND THEY DEFINITELY HELPED ME TO PREPARE MY ANSWERS A LOT MORE, AND BETTER.

By the end of the interview, excitement was filling in quickly than quicksand swallowing a struggling animal. I hopped my way back to my rented apartment, cheering myself and letting that excitement and sense of fulfillment pour out.

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Subconsciously, I knew I did well.

Less than a month later…

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OH MY GOD! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!

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I DID IT! Finally, my first offer to study Medicine!

Currently, I am still waiting for the school to send in their official offer via snail mail as well as UCAS. Hopefully, I should be hearing back from them soon!

Good news aside, this is also the crucial period for NUS Medicine. Their interviews are held on the 30, 31st March and the first week of April. However, even up to today, I have not heard back from the school.

Despite my friends trying to help me, or my writing in to the Prime Minister’s Office, I heard nothing. I really do hope I can hear back from the school soon! 3 years of rejection definitely has not made things any easier.

Otherwise, I might spend one whole day crying for the loss of this wonderful opportunity to study in NUS Medicine. Nonetheless, Birmingham is one school that I really really want to go! Still, so long as the official letter does not reach me, there is a chance that my application might not turn out to be as expected.

Still keeping my hopes up! Otherwise, I am going to spam the school with my questions should my acceptance for Birmingham doesn’t reach me. *cross fingers*

Throughout this one month, what I have really learned when it comes to Medicine interview is that:

  • Always prepare yourself for the interviews (Be it standardized questions or thinking questions).
  • Reaching early and giving yourself 5 minutes to calm down and be confident.
  • Talk to the other candidates or staff if possible, it helps to relax you down and be more confident when you are tackling the questions posed.
  • Always THINK through what you wanted to say. I remembered blurting out “why is this question being asked” instead of “can I ask what is the rationale being this question”. I guess I got kind of marked down for that.
  • Subconsciously, our minds know how we fare. Generally, the feeling you experience post-interview tells you about your performance. (I am not sure how true is this, but for me, I guess that’s true).

These are pretty cliche tips, but are very useful! For those who have been through interviews and have more tips to share, feel free to comment them here!

Moving away from my interviews and medicine status, school has been hectic for me since I came back. Examinations take place week after week (and I have one more skill assessment to go this coming Friday) and every day is like a study day.

Regardless, I felt that I had done well for my Pathophysiology and Pharmacology module and I did (Grade: A)! But today’s skill assessment was horrendous.

I was supposed to interview and conduct a physical assessment on my standardized patient with burning abdominal pain. For those who have the prior knowledge, the first thing you would be more likely to suspect is gastric related (because burning sensation tends to link with gastric juice problems). Instead, such an important clue got thrown to the depths of the Forgotten abyss in my mind and I started performing examinations related to intestinal obstruction or infection of the GI system. Oh god. Why.

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Worse still, I was made known that the patient had not been eating and that could be an obvious cause of his gastric pain. A link so obvious that I was oblivious to. 

Also, I have been so task oriented that I left out the feelings of my patient. Oh well.

I guess this is a good learning opportunity that I should keep in mind. Always engage with the patients and use my brain properly (and not missed out on any important clues).

With one more skill assessment to go this Friday, I hope whatever I have learned from today will be brought into great use.

With that, I shall end my update here and start indulging myself in the new books that I’ve bought on impulse from the cheap book sales! Otherwise, the number of new books would pile up into a Mountain taller than Everest (just kidding).

Hopefully, I would be able to hear good news from myself on Friday, as well as from NUS (soon) and receive my official letter from Birmingham too!

 

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